Here’s a surprise – another conference that is in transition. 14 schools play football and three are on the way out, with Tulsa, Tulane, and East Carolina departing for the AAC next year.
Marshall – the Thundering Herd should win this division with ease, but nothing is ever easy. They are the most talented team offensively, but they need help on defense. They gave up almost 50 points per game last season on the road over the course of 6 games, somehow they managed to win 2 of those.
Middle Tennessee – the Blue Raiders are new to CUSA, probably will fall short on a couple of key contests, but should easily make a bowl game. I think they will contend for most of the season.
East Carolina – the Pirates could win the division if they can stay healthy throughout the season. The last game could be a show down with Marshall for division supremacy. Again this team will go as the defense goes.
UAB – the Blazers will have a hard time making a bowl with their non conference schedule, as they have 2 paycheck games with SEC foes LSU and Vanderbilt. UAB should show rapid improvement over last season, but it may not show up in the win column.
SO Miss – the Golden Eagles have no where to go but up – they were 0-12 last season. New coach is Todd Monken formerly the OC at Oklahoma State. There are holes all over the place here.
FAU – the Owls coach Carl Pelini has a year at the helm; the Owls need help, record will probably be close to last years 3-9. Oline is a question mark as is the defense.
FIU – the Panthers only return 3 starters on the offense, and the offense will be abandoning the spread to go to a pro style. This team may not win a game if they do not beat Bethune-Cookman in week 3
Tulsa – the Golden Hurricane is probably not on most college fans radar. They have quietly put together a solid program over the last few years. 11-3 last season with a bowl win over a Big 12 school, not quite ready to make the full leap but could get to receiving votes in the polls.
LaTech – the Bulldogs were a prolific offense last season averaging almost 580 yards and over 51 points per game, but the architect of that offense is gone and so are 10 offensive starters. Does Skip Holtz have any magic left for this team?
Rice – the Owls won a bowl game last season, and a repeat of that would be just great. Rice finished on a 5 game win streak and returns a lot of starters on both sides of the ball. Should be a good season for the Owls.
UTEP – the Miners get some help at QB immediately as Jameill Showers transfers from Texas A&M. Since Showers has graduated he is eligible to play immediately. The Miners will need all they can get to get to a bowl game this season.
Tulane – the Green Wave has to improve up front or this will be a long season. The OLine gave up over 30 sacks, if they can improve on that they will have more opportunities to score.
North Texas – the Mean Green will hope to improve on last seasons 4-8 mark, but most of the help will need to be on defense, because they were run out of most games last year.
UTSA – the Roadrunners will not be a full FBS member until next year. Coach Larry Coker has won a National Title before at Miami and knows how to coach. This could be a powerhouse beginning to take its first steps.
Marshall wins the East
Tulsa wins the West
Tulsa over Marshall in the CUSA Title Game
Tulsa wins the conference outright.